Pearls of destiny... deprived

She liked to play Ludo and watch TV. These activities relieved her, temporarily, from her dreaded crutches.

Dr Ali Rafiq January 23, 2014
Her face glowed as she reached the gates of her college. Her eyes sparkled with ambition as she took each step towards her classroom, aided by her faithful crutches. Slowly, she approached the front desk of the class, kept her bag on the seat next to her, sat down and neatly hid the crutches under the desk.

It had been another usual day for Anika. She had enjoyed every bit of her lessons, making it a point to answer all the questions she had answers to when asked by the teacher. When she didn’t know the answer, she would eagerly wait for her colleagues to answer instead, so that she could add to her growing pool of knowledge. Anika, through her sheer determination and hard work, was making sure that the disability nature had bestowed her with in no way blocked her path towards achieving excellence.

Attending classes at school and college had always been enjoyable experiences for Anika. At home, she loved playing Ludo with her younger siblings, or helping them with their homework. Watching television was another form of entertainment that Anika always looked forward too.

It was her belief that these activities put her at par with everyone around her. That these activities protected her from the glares and stares that society often showered her with. These activities blocked the inquisitive minds of unknown bystanders who failed to mind their own business. These activities relieved her, temporarily, from her dreaded crutches.

Although nature had been unfair towards her, Anika always managed to fashion a smile on her face. When she would watch her friends at college play throw-ball, Anika would loudly cheer for them. When her siblings would excitedly play hide and seek in the yard, Anika would make a quick snack for them to consume after play-time. But no matter how much she smiled, the natural concern on her parents’ faces regarding her future could not be permanently erased.

Anika was generally well in control of her emotions, not allowing them to get the better of her. And while expression of emotions is generally considered a healthy sign, required for development, such a habit in her case would equate weakness.

Hence, every now and then, deep into the night, when most of God’s creation would be busy hiking a mountain or visiting the moon in dreamland, Anika shed a silent tear. The tear was often accompanied with an aching feeling in her throat, and a sinking feeling in her chest.

This tear was strictly personal.

It was a question, a question that she posed to her fate. The tear inquired the authors of her destiny about her fault; it was a testament of agony, an expression of anger and a plea of desperation.

It was another evening when Anika’s siblings were busy playing out in the yard. Anika decided to watch her favourite drama on television. She turned on the TV and began switching channels. Midway, she heard the phone ring in the nearby room. A bit annoyed, Anika grabbed her crutches and proceeded to attend the call. The news channel that had been tuned in to had a noisy talk show host interviewing a politician.
“You have been in power for seven months now. Can we know what your party has done for us?”

She inquired in her usual style.
“Listen madam, we don’t have a magic wand. These things take time,” calmly replied the politician.

“How much more time do you need? Even today, four doctors were killed in broad daylight at a hospital. Things have never been this bad before,” the host continued her onslaught.

“Madam, we strongly regret this incident. But you are forgetting what happened 12 years ago when our rivals were in power. You are forgetting how polio workers were shot in broad daylight and they did nothing about it. You can pick up the newspapers and check if you want to. Our party was the only group that openly condemned those attacks on polio health-workers and registered our protest outside the press club. Through your channel, I would hereby like to announce the formation of a committee that…”

Anika kept her crutches on the ground and tuned in to her favourite channel.

It was her uncle’s call. He would be visiting them the following day with his children.
Dr Ali Rafiq Doctor, debater, freelance writer and blogger. Graduate of Dow Medical College and winner of various national and international debating and writing competitions. He tweets @dralirafiq
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Supriya Arcot | 10 years ago | Reply Short, sweet, sensitive , concise and precise.
Parvez | 10 years ago | Reply Picture nicely drawn, gently saying what needs to be said.
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